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Flood Memories  

Major Anthony Buxton of Horsey Hall

"At about 7.30pm on the evening, a farmer came into my house with the news: "the sea is in", and I ran out to find, within about 150 yards of the house, the sea on the road, a mass of dead earthworms floating about, and terrified hares and rabbits swimming in or galloping before the flood. I waded to the mill man's house and at my knock he stepped straight out of his door into the sea. We rescued some people by boat from the upper windows of their house and got some of the inhabitants of the village away in a lorry down the road to the north. Two of us wading through the sea down the road ahead of the lorry, holding the centre of the road by keeping an eye on the tops of the reeds that showed in the dykes on either side of us.  Except at one gateway there was no great current, but we had the feeling of complete ignorance as to how high the water would rise. Luckily a bright moon helped us for we could at least see what was happening.

There was luckily no loss of human life and little loss of farm animals. Horses and cattle, which in many cases were standing out for hours belly-deep in the sea with nothing to eat but dead floating rubbish and no fresh water to drink, took the ordeal with great calmness and showed no inlination to stampede. All freshwater fish were at once destroyed and floated in thousands on the water; there was of course an invasion of the inhabitants of the sea. The only creatures which appeared quite unaffected were the eels, whose habit of migrating from sea water to fresh and back again made them indifferent to what had occurred. 

For the next three months until the half-mile breach in the sand-hills was sealed, we lived a strange existence on an island at the mercy of the sea, with the sea water rising and falling according to tide and to the force and direction of the wind. The normal drainage system of the country was completely upset. The water on the land rose above the level of the walls surrounding the broads and rivers and flowed over the walls into them.

We tried, whenever the water dropped an inch or two in the rivers, to assist this natural process by cutting slits in the walls bordering the rivers and broads to let some water off the land, but constantly had to re-close these slits whenever the water in the rivers rose again. All such work was really wasted and it was useless to do anything before the breach was closed".

Mrs Joyce Nudd.

Two of my brothers went outside to get their cycles. they came running back indoors shouting "the sea is over". We all went outside and saw it coming down the road like a white foam.

We had an old man of eighty-two living next door with his daughter. His bedroom was downstairs and he was very reluctant to go upstairs, but did so when he saw the water coming indoors. We took some bread and water upstairs as we didn't know how long we would be there. My father sat by the bedroom window and saw our chickens, rabbits and bunches of reed being swept along by the water. we could also hear our furniture bumping together downstairs.

We were all very frightened and wondered what we would do if the water came too high. We were lucky it was a full moon, and at 1.30 in the morning we heard voices. Four men rowed round to the bedroom window - they said they were afraid we had panicked and drowned. They got the old man and his daughter out first, then us. We had to sit on the bedroom window-sill and drop into the boat. the men then rowed us to the mill and along the road to the first house.

The centre of the village was not flooded. We spent the night at Horsey Hall and next day went to Sea palling, travelling to Waxham by boat".


Mr. E.G. King of Hall Farm

My wife was just getting our children ready for bed. Mr Thain, my farm foreman came to our house to ask if he could borrow our car to go to Catfield to warn the head of the Sea Breach Committee of the danger of flooding. He took the car, but at first we took no notice. Then I thought I had better go out and see for myself. I came back realising Mr Thain was right. I started our lorry and was going to take my family and some neighbours to the next village. we set out but had not got very far when we were stopped by lapping water and had to push the lorry back. we then got out a higher lorry and carefully drove on to the neighbouring village - only the tops of reeds and gateposts guided us along the way and prevented us from driving into ditches. The sea kept coming across the marshes but was not ebbing. we went back several times in boats for villagers, the last at 2.30am".

Mr Roy Randell

He was travelling by car to Winterton but only got as far as the Hundred Stream, boundary of the village, when the water came sweeping up to him. Mr Randell spoke to a reporter at the time:
"I tried to make myself comfortable inside my car, but water came up. The rear window gave way and the car was full of water. I got on to the roof but nobody seemed to see me".
Mr Randell stayed on the roof of his car all night.



Horsey Photohistory

A Genealogical CD, in PDF format so can be read by any computer, containing almost 200 high quality photographs, all from private sources, depicting the life and times of this idyllic Norfolk Broadland village.

Never-before-seen photographs of the Horsey Flood of 1938, together with people and events in village life, covering the past 120 years.

Cost of CD, including postage and packing to any destination is